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Bennedict Mathurin has yet to play in a game for the Indiana Pacers, but he is already turning heads in Indianapolis.

The sixth overall pick has only been a part of the Pacers organization for about three months, yet team general manager Chad Buchanan is impressed by the rookie's work ethic and drive.

"[Bennedict] so far has been everything we expected. Very, very driven. Very competitive," Buchanan said in a recent interview on 1075 The Fan in Indianapolis. "[He's] wound tight. We've seen that every day in the gym."

Mathurin has been in Indianapolis for much of the offseason, and he's been a frequent visitor to the Pacers practice facility. Indiana's front office shared that after Mathurin's pre-draft workout with the team, he came back to the gym that night to get more work in with head coach Rick Carlisle. That willingness to learn and spend time improving has stood out to many.

During his only formal game action since being drafted, summer league play in Las Vegas, Mathurin impressed. He averaged 19.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting well from both inside and outside the arc. His overall game shined.

Mathurin's good play was rewarded with a spot on the NBA 2K23 All-Summer League 2nd Team.

Mathurin was drafted with the sixth overall pick during the 2022 NBA Draft. It was the first time that the Pacers had picked inside the top 10 of the NBA draft since the 1980s, the franchise is certainly hoping that he can be one of the best draft picks Indiana has ever seen.

So far, he has the right mentality to be that player. "He's got a passion for getting better," Buchanan said of Mathurin. That passion could lead to faster-than-normal improvement for the 20 year-old guard. Indiana fans will hope it does.

Mathurin took a unique path to the NBA. He grew up in Canada, which meant he was eligible to be a part of the NBA Academy program. NBA Academy is a newer initiative that helps younger prospects reach their potential. 

Mathurin developed at the NBA Academy in Mexico City before going to college at Arizona. In June, he became the second player ever drafted who spent time at one of the NBA Academy locations — the first being Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey.

That unique path will be helpful for Mathurin's development. So will his mentality. The Pacers can hardly keep him out of the gym. "He's in there at night. He's working out during the day and coming in at night," Buchanan shared.

Mathurin will be one of the most important young Pacers players this season. His skills and development will be critical for the growth of the franchise in their current rebuild. Discovering his strengths, weaknesses, and fit with young star Tyrese Haliburton will be one of the most important storylines to monitor in Indiana this season.

"I'm a guy who wants to win badly, and who's going to figure out a way to win no matter what," Mathurin shared in a recently authored The Players' Tribune piece. "So that’s what's in all of our futures."

Indiana is high on Mathurin as a player and person, and Buchanan's recent comments reinforce that. The Pacers begin preseason play in just under two weeks, which will be Mathurin's first opportunity to show the NBA world what he can do.

  • The Indiana Pacers signed 48th overall pick Kendall Brown to a two-way contract. CLICK HERE.
  • Pacers newly acquired big man Daniel Theis performed well during EuroBasket 2022. His German squad finished third in the competition. CLICK HERE.
  • Former Pacers player Carlos Knox will not be retained as the head coach of the Indiana Fever. CLICK HERE.
  • See where various Indiana Pacers players ranked on ESPN's top 100 NBA players list. CLICK HERE.
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